An employee was using compressed air to clear debris off a trailer’s brake shoes. The work created a small cloud of airborne dust, which drew the attention of other employees. A lab analysis confirmed the brake material contained 20% to 30% chrysotile asbestos – the most common form of asbestos.
Automotive materials such as brake shoes, brake pads and clutch plates may contain asbestos. When employers are unsure if these products contain asbestos, they must implement control measures to protect employees as per the requirements of Regulation 91-191 sections 25.3 to 25.5 (Code of practice for asbestos). Auto mechanics who perform brake and clutch repairs risk exposure to dust that may contain asbestos fibres. Once suspended in the air, asbestos fibres can be inhaled. Prolonged exposure to airborne asbestos fibres can cause ca variety of lung diseases and cancers.
Adapted with permission from WorkSafeBC. Revised March 2022.
Never use compressed air to remove dust from automotive friction materials. Even if the employee shown here was wearing a respirator, others would still be exposed to airborne asbestos dust.